WHAT IS THIS WEBSITE?
The purposes of this website are…
One, to tell stories with data, and
My story-telling style—call it “annotated meandering”—inspired this site’s name.
I do always get to the point, though…eventually.
Just bear with me.
WHO AM I?
Click here to learn about Matt – or is it Dr. Noir?
WHAT KIND OF STORIES DO I TELL HERE?
Broadly speaking, I write essays – tell stories – about topics in three areas:
- My own life (see below)
- American politics – including calls for bipartisanship and mutual respect
- Popular culture – primarily film/television and music
I write about other topics as well, including our lives during the first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic, baseball, epidemiology and public health, true crime and anything else about which I can tell a good story.
I ALSO WRITE BOOKS!
Far more often than I had expected, I tell stories from my own life, using what I call “contextualized introspection.” Along those lines, I am determining the best way to publish my first book Interrogating Memory: Film Noir Spurs a Deep Dive Into My Family History…and My Own.
While I ponder, you may purchase a copy as a PDF here.
Interrogating Memory began as an attempt to turn an essay about why I love film noir into a full-length book. At the same time, I was undergoing genetic testing, exploring my own personal “origin story” and using tools like Ancestry and Newspapers to help me contextualize my “journey” within a larger American immigrant story. I coined the term “interrogating memory” to describe this process – and one of the first things I learned was that the death of my paternal great-grandfather David Louis Berger made the front page of the Philadelphia Inquirer more than 100 years ago.
I recently received my first – wholly unsolicited – review, and I could not be more grateful and humbled. David Mayhew wrote: “Greatly have I enjoyed your new book, which kept me glued! It all flows well. Film noir is a real fetching theme! What an expert and connoisseur you are!”
I have now begun to write my second book, tentatively titled Meet Me at the Counter: A Life in Diners. Indeed, the photograph at the top of the page shows the sorely-missed ValeRio diner, which once sat on Route 23 in Phoenixville, PA, at the intersection with Route 113 North. It features prominently in a number of posts – such as those having to do with constructive dialogue and healthy skepticism.
At least…that was what I began to write until I inadvertently stumbled upon the January 1909 statutory rape trial of Adelaide “Addie” Burns – who just happened to be the first wife of my wife Nell’s paternal grandfather. I now plan to write a book about this trial, grounding it in both the aftermath of the Civil War (tens of thousands of dead fathers, husbands, sons and brothers) and the distinctive social mores – including nativism, misogyny, and Congregationalist (read: Calvinist) attitudes toward poverty and crime – of Connecticut at the time.
WHAT ELSE WILL YOU FIND HERE?
WHAT DO I ASK FROM READERS?
Just continue to bear with me, while inviting others to do the same. I am grateful to everyone who clicks “Like” and comments in a respectful way: it truly is possible to disagree without being disagreeable.
I invite you to follow me on Twitter @drnoir33.
Please also check out my Interrogating Memory book. I think you will enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Then keep an eye out for new essays and my upcoming The Burns Woman and Life in Diners books.
And if you enjoy what you read here, please consider making a one-time or recurring donation.
HOW CAN YOU CONTACT ME?
I want to hear from you!
Please click here to offer your thoughts, ask me questions – or just say Hello!